As a kid, I was always a huge fan of the milk bottle sweets you would get as part of a pick-n-mix selection. This recipe is a definite nod to those milky treats. The meringues have that gently caramelized, condensed milk flavour with a crisp shell and mallowy centre. They are especially good with bright acidic fruits like gooseberry and rhubarb but I also love them with any of the red summer fruits.
This dish is ideal with any berry, especially gooseberries, or you could try it with rhubarb. The meringue can be tooth-achingly sweet but is balanced by the acidity of the yogurt mousse alongside the wild-tasting berries.
Makes: about 15 milk meringues, and enough yoghurt mousse for 6
For the milk meringues
200g egg whites, from 6–7 eggs
pinch of salt
400g caster sugar
50g milk powder
For the yoghurt mousse
110ml whole milk
40g caster sugar
500g thick plain yogurt
250ml double (heavy) cream
For each serving
2–3 tbsp yogurt mousse
1 milk meringue
4–5 perfect tayberries
To make the yogurt mousse whisk together the milk, sugar and cornflour in a saucepan. Place over a medium heat and continue whisking gently until the mixture comes to the boil
and has thickened. Pour into a shallow container and chill completely in the fridge.
Combine the milk mixture with the yogurt in a food processor and blend until completely smooth, adding 100g of tayberries to the yogurt as you blend it with the thickened milk so that the fruit is puréed through the base. Whip the double cream until it holds medium peaks and gently fold through the thickened yogurt, along with the remaining tayberries so that you get larger pieces of slightly crushed berries. Leave to set in the fridge before using.
To make the meringues, preheat the oven to 120°C with as low a fan setting as possible. Combine the egg whites and salt in a mixer with a whisk attachment. Whisk at medium-slow speed so that you build a strong, stable meringue. Once the whites hold soft peaks, add the sugar one third at a time, whisking well between each addition. Once all the sugar has been incorporated and you have a strong, glossy meringue, gently fold in the milk powder.
Line a baking sheet with baking parchment or a silicone mat. Either pipe the meringue into 6–7cm domes or use two spoons to scoop quenelles onto the lined trays. Bake for 2–2½ hours.
The meringues should be crisp on the outside with a slightly gooey centre. Leave to cool in the oven with the door slightly ajar then store in an airtight container until ready to serve.
To serve, use a sharp knife to cut the top of a meringue and divide it into three rough pieces. Place the base of the meringue in a shallow bowl or plate and spoon the tayberry and yogurt mousse on top. Scatter the tayberries over the mousse then cover some of the mousse with the top of the meringue.
Going from Gramercy Tavern in New York to Lyle’s, Flor and The River Café in London, Anna is undoubtedly one of the most exciting pastry chefs in today’s British food scene. The Last Bite is her first cookbook, filled with all the technical pastry methods and tricks she has picked up along the way. Anna The Last Bite: A whole new approach to making desserts through the year by Anna Higham. Published by DK, 5 May. £22. Recipe Photography credit: Kim Lightbody.